He's touched us, he's partied with us, and now he's ready to move us. Wario is back, and once players experience his latest game, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, they'll soon realize just how much potential lies within the Wii. However, just because that potential is present doesn't mean that all of it works in an effective manner.
The game is played via forms in which players must hold the Wii Remote, which is known as a baton in the game. Mimicking the way each form has the baton positioned, players must figure out how best to go about completing each microgame. However, the actions they may think are needed tend to be more exaggerated than necessary. That turns out to be just fine, as acting out each is a blast all on its own. For example, a rather tedious boss game has the player following dance steps. Holding the baton parallel to their hip, the player must smack the two together. Inevitably, some players will realize that as long as the end action is the same, there's no need to stand or slap that controller on the thigh. Sometimes, trying to match the action the game emulates just makes it harder to accomplish. In a hula-hoop microgame, just moving the controller back and forth seems to be the most logical way to play.
Of course, WarioWare isn't based on logic and common sense. The crazy concepts make the game fun to play, but what many will discover is that the game could turn out to be more fun to watch. My wife had a blast watching me make a fool of myself as I shut the gate on a granny and furiously pumped air into a balloon. With this in mind, many will find the true joy of Smooth Moves is not what you are doing, but how what you are doing translates into the game's action. With only a few different forms that come into play, you'd think that the game would get stale quickly, but what you do with these basic forms is so wide-ranging that there's not one microgame that seems to just repeat what another one did.
Though the story and characters play second stage to the microgames, they are still interesting due to the way each intertwines with the gameplay. It seems odd to say, but the only sane character seems to be Wario. This opens a floodgate of unique personalities, from 9-Volt's love for Nintendo or Mona's cheery inspiration for a certain football player. I got a huge chuckle each time the characters introduced their respective challenges. Another welcome surprise in Smooth Moves is the briefings that precede each new form. The localization team really nailed the voiceover and dialog.
Ultimately, none of the game's quirks would matter had the gameplay been terrible, and Smooth Moves makes sure to excel beyond even the highest of expectations. The game is definitely more hectic this time around, with the difficulty now coming from both the time constraints and the way each challenge must be performed. Much like WarioWare: Touched!, the development team managed to take full advantage of the unique control scheme. Some may trivialize Wii for its "gimmicky" mini-games, but if those games had turned out to be as much fun as Smooth Moves, people surely wouldn't have minded.
Multiplayer is here, but it doesn't really feel any different from the main game. Players simply hand over a single remote from one player to the next, as each attempts to look less stupid as the previous player. The players are defined by their chosen Miis, a feature that helps the multiplayer seem more personal. For some reason, seeing me win at arm-wrestling against my Hulk Hogan Mii is quite satisfying. I would have preferred a split-screen or even online style, but the former would probably result in injuries, and the latter... well, I'll digress for now. In the end, the turn taking is still entertaining, if only to see others make fools of themselves.
Don't let these quirks deter you from purchasing this title. It's a definite winner when compared to its competition, and one that will last you for quite some time. Though older generations will prefer to watch the young ones play, the kid inside everyone will soon be under Wario's motion sensing spell. If touching is good, then moving is great, and WarioWare: Smooth Moves proves just that.
Review by Super-Jesse